Sue Gray, along with Tony Blair, is pleased with the new-look New Statesman

Sue Gray, along with Tony Blair, is pleased with the new-look New


To me, the New Statesman always seemed to be an outmoded soap box for

politically correct academics. A redesign and a new editor...I was


The intended change in readership of the title is rather glibly

articulated by a comparison of the ads carried on the back covers of

the 7 June (old design) and 14 June (new design) issues. Football tee-

shirts with philosophical slogans - plus order coupon - have been

replaced by an ad for the Jaguar XJ Executive.

Does the advertising presence of Jaguar, along with BP and British Gas,

herald the acceptance by big business of the New Statesman as a forum

for political debate?

There has been a lot of press interest in the redesign and the new

editor, Ian Hargreaves (previously with the Independent, the FT and the

BBC). But success will depend on his achieving the aim of doubling

circulation by broadening the title’s appeal, both in terms of the

political orientation of readers and the subject matter.

The redesign has certainly made the New Statesman visually more

appealing. It looks contemporary and readable.

Several articles focused on interesting subjects but an over-reliance on

gossip was limiting. There was much that was thought-provoking - from

Asian economics to comprehensive schools and, of course, football.

So, will the New Statesman become, once again, required political and

cultural reading? I found reviewing it more enjoyable than I expected.

But, of more relevance (presumably), the leader of the Opposition, Tony

Blair, is reported to have been impressed and, from the opposite camp,

so was William Rees-Mogg...

Sue Gray is the media research manager at Motive Communications